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KIST finds treatment mechanism on Huntington’s disease
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.06.19 15:35
  • Updated 2017.06.22 14:22
  • comments 0

A research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has discovered a new mechanism to treat Huntington’s disease, the state institute said Monday

Huntington's disease, also known as Huntington's chorea, is a genetic defect that is a degenerative brain disease in which hands and feet move spontaneously under extreme conditions due to extensive damage to neurons of the striatum, a particular part of the brain.

Dr. Ryu Hoon류한 and his KIST team confirmed the possibility of using histone methylation as a target compound and conducted an intervention study in a Huntington's disease mouse model. The inhibition of the abnormally increased histone methylation by a known antibiotic drug balanced the homeostasis of histone methylation, restoring the function of the mitochondrial neurons in the atrophied brain of Huntington's disease-ridden mice.

This graphic shows three different cases of corpus striatum.(Source : KIST)

The disease is known to be accompanied by severe psychiatric symptoms and later with dementia. In the middle ages before the development of brain science, people who had "dancing disease (chorea)" were subject to witch hunts and were sometimes burned.

In the Huntington Disease Drosophila model and the mouse animal model, abnormal growth of histone methylation has been shown to alter neuronal function and cause brain pathology and exercise control abnormalities.

“This study suggests the possibility of developing epigenetic therapeutic agents that can alleviate neuronal damage and behavioral disturbances seen in Huntington's disease,” Ryu said. “This treatment mechanism will also contribute to the understanding and treatment of other pathologies such as degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's disease.”

The researchers pointed out that the anticancer drug used in the experiment is effective for the treatment of brain diseases, but it shows cytotoxicity at high concentrations, and there is a point to be improved such as the development of innocuous analog drugs in the future.


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